Matthias Felleisen

Jun 17 2021

Dear Matthew Butterick,

you wrote on your blog that I had bullied you. Allow me to respond:

I am truly sorry.

After talking to two team members who recalled our staff meeting at the 2018 Racket Summer School better than I did, I think I can put myself into your shoes now.

That day, the presentations hadn’t gone the way I thought they should have. We got together for our assessment meeting. I think of everyone in the room as an equal in such settings, and I expect them to see themselves this way. I clearly forget that I am the oldest and most experienced—and I should act this way in a post-mortem conversation. But I didn’t. I got emotional and overly intense during the meeting. I must have directed angry words at you, who clearly had nothing to do with how the day had gone. And this hurt you and it definitely jaded all of our interactions from then on. For this, I apologize.

Let me add that I am grateful that you wrote in the spirit of “I am still using Racket, and I don’t want anyone to think otherwise.” It must have been difficult to weave these two thoughts together. So, thank you.

Finally, as you surely recall, I encouraged you throughout 2019, in person and in email, to join the Racket leadership; I even proposed you could replace me. I always thought that your experience and your outside view would seriously improve our work. I still think so.